Whether you’re sending it to school, packing it for desk-side dining, or brown-bagging it for the road, lunch has been one of the harder meals to kick single-use plastic to the curb. But as the movement to get rid of plastic straws and bags is growing, we’ve found a lot more options for reusable, lunch-worthy accessories that make this mission more than possible (and a lot of fun, too!). Check out our Top 7 ways to keep single-use plastic out of your lunchbox!
While Stasher isn’t the only brand using BPA, PVC, and phthalate-free platinum-cure silicone to make reusable bags you can throw in the dishwasher, their airtight seal truly sets them apart. Whether you use them to transport juicier items you’d rather not have leak in your lunchbox, make chef-worthy sous vide magic at home, or freeze soups or stews for fast, boil-in-the-bag weeknight meals, Stasher’s bags are a game-changer. Freezable, and microwave- (and up to 400°F oven-) friendly, Stasher comes in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colours that make it realistic to ditch that plastic zip-top bag habit for good. And, although platinum silicone should be infinitely reusable, should your Stasher get damaged, they have a repurpose program that turns unusable bags into playground pebbles.
(In Canada, find them at Indigo; In the US, find them at Fred Meyer, Target, and more; or order online at stasherbag.com)
Also made of infinitely reusable platinum-cure silicone (a standard higher than food-grade silicone, made from silica sand and carbon), Luumi’s sandwich bags come in a bright, fun assortment of primary colours. These fold-top bags have simple loop-and-button closures that are easy for little hands to open, and take full advantage of silicone’s flexible nature—Luumi’s top can be folded back for easy loading, or to help keep the bag open for grab-and-go access to small snacks. Luumi bags can be rolled up for space-saving storage, or for stashing in your bag so you’re ready the next time you get take-out and want to skip the plastic.
(Order from luumilife.com)
While the move away from plastic straws has brought all kinds of options, they’re not without some drawbacks. Slow sipper? Single-use paper straws get soggy. On-the-go? Glass straws can break and metal straws can have unforgiving edges. (And both can be pricey if you’re prone to misplacing stuff when you’re out and about). That’s where The Future is Bamboo’s straws come in. Made from biodegradable, fast-growing—and naturally antimicrobial—bamboo, these washable straws come with a handy brush for cleaning for reuse. Splitting the difference between single-use paper and more resource-intense straw materials, The Future is Bamboo offers an affordable and sustainable straw option you won’t be reluctant to leave home with.
(Find them at your natural product grocer, or order from thefutureisbamboo.com)
Leftovers for lunch? Send them to school (or bring them to work) in a leakproof Mepal snack pot that goes from fridge or freezer to microwave, all without spilling. Made from BPA-free polypropylene, Mepal’s containers are dishwasher safe, and the perfect size for lunch-worthy portions. Paired with their 3-piece cutlery set (knife, fork, and spoon held together by a holder), and you have a practical lunch-on-the-go set you can take anywhere. Durable and timeless, Mepal has been making reusable travel-ready dishware for over 60 years and offers replacement parts for their products, so you can keep using them for longer.
(Order from Mepal.com)
- Mason Jars
These cheap and cheerful containers pre-date single-use plastic by almost a century! Made to last since the late 50s (the 1850s, that is!), mason jars have been helping seal, store, and keep food fresh long before hipster restaurants claimed them as the ultimate in understated drinkware. The humble and durable mason jar isn’t just for pickles, preserves, and peaches anymore. With a variety of sizes and shapes to handle everything from snacks to soups to salads, mason jars are perfect for anything you can think to take for lunch (well, other than sandwiches!). Designed to stand up to the punishing processes of home canning, mason jars have sealing superpowers, and are infinitely dishwashable and microwavable. Lose a lid? Pick up a pack at the grocery or hardware store—the same three lid sizes have been in use for generations, no matter what jar brand you’ve got. And speaking of generations, as long as you don’t accidentally introduce them to the floor from height, mason jars can literally last a lifetime.
(Available everywhere, no link required!)
Lunch packing for persnickety eaters who insist the no-touching rule apply to their food can be tough. Tiffins make it easier. Tiffin boxes are the traditional steel hot-food delivery container used in India, designed to keep different foods separate in stacked layers. Onyx Tiffins come in both the classic stacked style (double-walled to keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold), and in the to-go version of the segmented plate, complete with removeable dividers. Stainless steel with a silicone seal in the lid, Onyx Tiffins’ Divided Airtight Food Storage Container is leakproof and durable enough to stand up to years of daily use. Easy to clean, the base and dividers are dishwasher-friendly (handwash the lid for a lasting leakproof seal).
(Find the full Onyx Tiffin range at thetickletrunk.com)
After 20,000 years of eating out of pottery bowls, there’s finally a practical answer to the disappointing trail of shards that suggest ceramic dishware is safer left at home. Wrapped in protective silicone, the Porter Bowl lets you take the familiar comfort and utility of a ceramic bowl for lunch, in a far less fragile form. A hard-plastic lid with a silicone seal and a wrap-around, snap-tight silicone strap mean you can take anything from a hearty power bowl to pasta to-go (cereal or salad, too!). Microwave and dishwasher safe, the ceramic Porter Bowl gives you everything there is to love about a proper bowl, minus the breakage.
(Order the Porter Bowl – Ceramic from wandpdesign.com)
What’s your favourite way to kick single-use plastic out of your lunchbox?